This photo, in which three American soldiers lie dead in the sand on Buna Beach in New Guinea, was taken in February 1943, but was not published until September. It was the first time an image of dead American troops appeared in LIFE during World War II without the bodies being draped, in coffins, or otherwise covered up. George Strock’s Buna Beach photo — now acknowledged as a war classic — and other equally gruesome and graphic pictures were finally OK’d by the Office of War Information’s censors, in part because President Roosevelt feared that the American public might be growing complacent about the war and its horrific toll.
“The Toll in the Pacific: Buna Beach, 1943”
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